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Joel Quenneville


C - Craig Conroy, Mike Eastwood, Pascal Rheaume, Pierre Turgeon, Michal Handzus, Marty Reasoner. LW - Geoff Courtnall, Michel Picard, Tony Twist, Pavol Demitra. RW - Jim Campbell, Kelly Chase, Scott Pellerin, Scott Young. D - Marc Bergevin, Todd Gill, Al MacInnis, Chris McAlpine, Rudy Poeschek, Chris Pronger, Jamie Rivers, Ricard Persson. G - Grant Fuhr, Jamie McLennan.


Pierre Turgeon, c (broken hand 12/15, mid-to-late January); Geoff Courtnall, lw (post-concussion syndrome 12/9, day-to-day).


Dec. 9 - Assigned Rich Parent, g, to Worcester (AHL); Dec. 15 - Recalled Marty Reasoner, c, from Worcester; Dec. 18 - Recalled Ricard Persson, d, from Worcester; Dec. 19 - Claimed Bryan Helmer, d, off waivers from Phoenix Coyotes.


12/08 Buffalo      T 2-2
12/12 Pittsburgh   L 4-3
12/14 at Colorado  T 0-0
12/15 at Dallas    L 7-3
12/17 Phoenix      W 3-2
12/19 Los Angeles  W 5-2


Central Division    GP   W   L   T   PTS   GF   GA   
  Detroit           30  17  12   1    35   94   76  
  St Louis          28  11  10   7    29   74   69  
  Nashville         30  11  16   3    25   70   93   
  Chicago           32   9  19   4    22   71  107


by Tom Cooper, St. Louis Correspondent

"He Shoots, he..."

One of the most fundamental rules in hockey is "Put the puck on the net. Something good is bound to happen." (That and don't buy drinks at the bar for the woman who looks like a 62-year old school nurse wearing the Catwoman costume from Batman. Ewww!)

This is a rule that the St. Louis Blues have had no problem heeding. In fact, they're eighth in the league in total shots on goal.

But it's the second half of the cause-effect relationship/hockey saying that isn't happening for the Bluenotes. St. Louis, who was last outshot in a 4-2 win back on Nov. 28 against Washington, is 20th in the league in shooting percentage with an 83.8 percent to boast.

Even though that percentage isn't the worst in the league, it is a cause for concern, considering the Blues' offense last season that led the NHL in goals. But you won't see St. Louis General Manager Larry Pleau banging the crap out of the panic button just yet.

"As long as we continue to get scoring chances," Pleau said, "I think we're going to find a way to win some games."

That there is an optimism that probably would not have happened with GMs of the past, like Mike Kennan trading the farm for a couple of former Oilers/Rangers he picked up at the retirement home. Even with the lack of finishing on the squad, Pleau is content with sitting back and seeing how things unfold, rather than making deal after deal right now.

"I have a lot of patience," he said. "That's one thing I have a lot of."

Oh, What Did He Do Now?

He is continuously dubbed the best young defenseman in the game. At times, his discipline on the ice really accentuates the word 'young.'

Chris Pronger, the 6-foot-5, 207-pound captain of the Blues who seems to lose control of his wood about as often as Pee Wee Herman, was slapped with a four-game suspension by league high school principal Colin Campbell for a slash he performed on Phoenix's Jeremy Roenick.

"Pronger swung his stick in an extremely reckless and dangerous manner, and his stick made contact with the Phoenix player's head," said Campbell. "Deliberate blows to the head will not be tolerated under any circumstances."

Pronger will lose $66,145.83 in salary during his suspension that started with the Blues' 5-2 victory of Los Angeles. That loss of pay means he can afford to buy about five less Furbies than he had previously intended.

The play occurred in the opening minute of the second period of the Dec. 17 game against Phoenix, wihch the Blues' won 3-2. Pronger, who was being frustrated throughout the first period by the Coyotes, had enough and swung at Roenick's head. Pronger received a match penalty for intent to injure.

"That's endangering somebody's health," Roenick said. "There's no need to take swings at guys' heads. That's bush league if you ask me."

The Blues will be without the services of Pronger and his defense which put him third in the Norris Trophy voting last season.

The Blues have to face the Islanders, New Jersey, and Detroit without him before he returns against the Red Wings in the second part of a home- and-home series on Dec. 28.

Who The Hell Needs Hull?

With Brett Hull long gone and in the back of every Blues fan's mind, (that is until Dallas plays St. Louis) the faithful have been looking for a forward to step up and fill No. 16 skates.

Looks like that number is 26 more that the original -- No. 38 Pavol Demitra.

The Slovakia native is currently atop the team's leaderboard in scoring with 32 points coming on 16 goals and 16 helpers. Not a bad way to start slipping those toes into the skates.

"He's as hot as they come right now, so we've got to keep giving him the puck," said Craig Conroy.

Giving Demitra the puck are two people he can relate to.

Whenever they're up in the National Hockey League, fellow Slovakians Lubos Bartecko and Michal Handzus join Pavol on the "Team Slovakia" line.

Given Demitra's natural ability, he is going to make his countrymen/linemates look like the best forwards in the league.

"Anybody who plays with him . . . that's a pretty good line," said Los Angeles Kings' goalie Jamie Storr, who faced Demitra and the Blues Dec. 19, losing to them 5-2. "He's good offensively. And he has very good hands. Anybody on his line is going to benefit from that."

For now, it's Demitra that's benefitting from his talent. His playing is starting to help Blues fans forget about players of the past.

"Looked like Brett Hull out there," Conroy said.

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